In December of 1969, four months after Woodstock, the Rolling Stones and Jefferson Airplane gave a free concert in Northern California, east of Oakland at Altamont Speedway. About 300,000 people came, and the organizers put Hell’s Angels in charge of security around the stage. Armed with pool cues and knifes, Angels spent the concert beating up spectators, killing at least one. The film intercuts performances, violence, Grace Slick and Mick Jagger’s attempts to cool things down, close-ups of young listeners (dancing, drugged, or suffering Angel shock), and a look at the Stones later as they watch concert footage and reflect on what happened.
Der Kandidat / The Candidate (1980) Stefan Aust, Alexander Kluge, Wolf Biermann, Karl Carstens, Edmund Stoiber, Documentary
Casino Jack and the United States of Money (2010) Alex Gibney, Jack Abramoff, Tom DeLay, William Branner, Documentary
Général Idi Amin Dada: Autoportrait / General Idi Amin Dada: A Self Portrait (1974) Barbet Schroeder, Idi Amin, Fidel Castro, Golda Meir, Documentary, Biography, War
Uganda’s dictator, General Idi Amin Dada, accepts a foreign crew’s request to interview and film him. He talks to the camera about his outreach to Arab nations, his goal of eradicating Israel, his views on economic policy, and his views of Nixon, Kissinger, and other world leaders. We also see him dressing down his ministers at a cabinet meeting (two weeks after this meeting, the foreign minister, whom Amin criticizes here, is murdered), supervising a war-game simulation of an invasion of Israel, visiting a village, and addressing a conclave of Ugandan physicians.
Freakonomics (2010) Heidi Ewing, Alex Gibney, James Ransone, Tempestt Bledsoe, Bill Gates, Documentary
The field of economics can study more than the workings of economies or businesses, it can also help explore human behavior in how it reacts to incentives. Economist Steven D. Levitt and journalist Stephen J. Dubner host an anthology of documentaries that examines how people react to opportunities to gain, wittingly or otherwise. The subjects include the possible role a person’s name has for their success in life, why there is so much cheating in an honor bound sport like sumo wrestling, what helped reduce crime in the USA in the 1990s onward and we follow an school experiment to see if cash prizes can encourage struggling students to improve academically.
On a late-summer Sunday in 2011, a female director gathers a team of filmmakers, writers, musicians, artists, critics, and friends in an apartment to recreate a scene from Michael Curtiz’s Depression-era drama The Cabin in the Cotton. Over plates of pasta and glasses of red wine, a round robin of non-professional actors take turns performing the same scene, again and again, In different permutations. With a freedom Influenced by pre–Code Hollywood, cameras, phones, and laptops are scattered around & set at almost every possible angle, documenting the action both in front of and behind the camera as it unfolds, from rehearsals to equipment adjustments to the banter between takes. An intimate. playful, and spontaneous look Into the collaborative cinematic process emerges. a snapshot of the filmmaker’s perennial struggle to capture fleeting moments before the day (and light) slip away.
Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul (2005) Fatih Akin, Alexander Hacke, Ahmed Ulug, Cem Yegul, Documentary, Music
Award-winning director Fatih Akin takes us on a journey through Istanbul, the city that bridges Europe and Asia, and challenges familiar notions of east and west. He looks at the vibrant musical scene which includes traditional Turkish music plus rock and hip-hop.
La bocca del lupo / The Mouth of the Wolf (2009) Pietro Marcello, Vincenzo Motta, Mary Monaco, Franco Leo, Documentary, Biography, Drama
Pietro Marcello directs this genre-defying Italian docudrama that follows mustachioed ex-con Enzo as he returns to Genoa after a long stint in prison, only to find that the city he once loved has changed almost beyond recognition. But as he combs the seaside town for hints of his past, he finds solace in the arms of Mary, his faithful lover and a transsexual who embodies the mysterious allure of Genoa itself. Mary Monaco and Vincenzo Motta star.
In 1969, Bergman made a surprisingly direct and political document about Fårö’s importance. Ten years later, he decided to take a second look at situation. The update is surprisingly optimistic, with several remarkable “then and now” juxtapositions. The unhappy teenagers about to decamp for Stockholm in the first film turn out to have settled into the quiet, isolated Fårö life. Interweaving scenes of extraordinary beauty with interviews and rigorous sequences depicting everyday chores, customs and rituals on Fårö, Bergman develops a complex, understated and loving portrait of his tiny island.
Det gode og det onde / Good and Evil (1975) Jørgen Leth, Claus Nissen, Ulla Gottlieb, Holger Juul Hansen, Documentary
Jørgen Leth can squeeze poetry from a stone and wit from dust, and he can find love where the milk of human kindness runs dry. In a series of tableaux of Life in Denmark, he carries absurdism to a happy extreme. To act out his minuscule non-dramas, he uses a motley crew of professional actors like Ghita Nørby and Claus Nissen, writer Dan Turéll plus a snake charmer, a bicycle racer and a circus queen.